Why fly to France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and stay within the safe and comfortable barriers of the plane, when you can instead jump out of a plane and re-enact the original mission completed by allied paratroopers into Normandy in 1944?
That’s likely what Reps. Jason Crow and Michael Waltz would say. The bipartisan pair were the only members of Congress who, this past Sunday, took the same leap that troops from the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions took 75 years ago. You could barely even tell decades have passed by the looks of the near-identical World War II uniforms donned by the fearless 21st century parachuters aboard “That’s All Brother,” the original C-47 that carried the 101st Airborne into Normandy.
Both congressmen have roots in the Army. Waltz, R-Florida, is a Green Beret while Crow, D-Colorado, is a former Army Ranger who served in the same 82nd Division that was part of the invasion of France. He also served in the 2nd Ranger Battalion that scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc. In participating in the re-enactment of his heroic predecessors, Crow said that “to retrace their footsteps and to think about the sacrifices they made and how they paved the path for our freedom was very humbling.”
While the jumpmaster might’ve been comfortable enough to make the jump after 15 years, he admitted not feeling as comfortable with the aircraft that would take him up, up, and away.
“The engine kind of sounded like an old lawnmower so that was my first concern … being the only person that spoke English, I was having to watch what other people were doing,” Crow told me.
Waltz shared a video of his jump which, if you’re wary of heights and falling (fast) from those heights, is a bit anxiety-inducing for the first 15 seconds, but then transitions into serene cinematography of a French countryside that would make for a calming screensaver, if looped.
Here’s my view from today’s jump in #Normandy!
The Florida Republican said of his airborne adventure: “It was an unforgettable experience to make the same jump so many brave men made to defend Europe and the world during World War II.” Adding, “I’m very thankful for their service and sacrifices and was honored to have paid tribute to them this weekend.”
The jump, which was seen by thousands, was also applauded by colleagues, Speaker Nancy Pelosi among them, who were probably just as content with their view from the ground.